Sunday, August 10, 2008

More on Dante

Hello all so if anyone like Dante as much as me they found my previous post sites fun! However, i am now posting an assignment I had to write on assigning literary characters to hell. I had a lot of fun with it but don't take it too seriously! Enjoy! ;)

“I God’s faithful apprentice do hereby assign you to the ____ level of hell!”

Many will tell you that God’s justice is perfect, and I would have to agree with that. However, I am also hear to tell you that she doesn’t do it all on her own. Oh no she has help in the form of me. I am God’s apprentice, but not apprentice in the way that some day I’m going to get her job. It’s more I’m her helper for all eternity. The way that sounds I may seem like I do not like my job, or that I think it tedious. Honestly that could not be further from the truth. I truly enjoy my work. It is my job to assign all of the wrong doers of the earth to a level in hell or purgatory should I deem them able to go to purgatory that is. While this isn’t the most pleasant of undertakings I pride myself on knowing exactly where God would put them, had she the time. However, don’t think she is slacking off; she approves everyone of my decisions. You may have heard of our nine levels of hell from the poet Dante Alighieri? He did a good job of retelling the phenomenon that he was aloud to witness. It is only a shame that some don’t take the time out to listen to what he had to say about sin being the perversion of the souls ability to love and God being the only answer. There is another man, who is currently residing on Earth with a quite a few years left, that put it well, “the journey into hell is a descent into the dark negative caverns of the human soul. Its deadly passions and sins hold the soul captive and lost to its real life inactivity.” That Father Collins is a smart man; he has place up in paradise on one of their nine spheres. But back to my story. I’m going to tell you about a few of the many characters I’ve had come across my desk. Sometimes deciding where I ought to assign them can be quite difficult. Truly the state of humanity can be quite unimaginable with horrors that are committed there.

The first I will tell you about is the hero Achilles. You may be wondering what has earned him a place in hell as he is usually spoken of as a hero. Well he did a number of things along the way and during his heroic era that had put him in hell, and I had quite a time deciding what level to throw him in. I mean you’ve got a hero, but at the same time he steals women, has sexual relations outside of marriage, and he defiles the bodies of his enemies. Sadly those outweigh the heroic deeds and have earned him a place in Lucifer’s den. So where did I begin when it came to this hero? Well I first looked at the fact that he had stopped fighting in the war. This could be looked upon as a fraudulent act against his country; however, technically it was not his country he was fighting for. It finally came down to the fact that he killed a man and had the body dragged brutally through the streets. This violence shown towards another man had me come to the conclusion that he should be sentenced to the seventh level of hell. To be more specific Achilles was sentenced to the second ring of the seventh circle of hell which is reserved for those who are violent against others. He shall forever rot in a pool of bubbling and boiling blood. Stamping his paper work with a red level 7, I filed it away for God’s final approval.

Moving on from Achilles we have a man also commonly known amongst the Greeks, and that is Agamemnon. After I tell you where I had to put him, just wait till I get to his wife (what a piece of work that one was). However, we begin with the fate of Agamemnon. Agamemnon of course sacrificed his young daughter. But before I get there a few of his other crimes were violence towards others in the act of war, as well as having intercourse outside of the bounds of matrimony. But of course it is his worst sin of all that landed him in the otter bowels of hell. If it was not bad enough to kill his own flesh and blood he also did it as a sacrifice to another God. No one but the almighty should be worshipped. The simple fact that he worshipped other Gods would put him into the Inferno, but sacrificing his daughter is what led to his placement in the ninth level. It is treacherous indeed to murder one’s child. There is never a reason for that. Therefore Agamemnon is sentenced to the first ring of the ninth circle of hell in the city of Caina (after Cain who slew Abel). Here he will be frozen to his head for all of eternity. His paperwork received the red level 9 stamp, and was sent off for final approval.

Alright as promised the infamous Clytamnestra’s place amongst the inferno. She had so many misgivings and horrible crimes it is difficult to say where she might go. First of course is the fact that she was living in sin against her husband. Her boyfriend, Aegisthus, is currently in residence of level two, for the lustful. While it is understandable that she was angered and distraught over the death of her daughter, which in no way pardons her for the pre-mediated death of her husband. However, her husband was not blood kin to her, so in fact she is not fated as badly as he. For she only rots away in level seven of hell for hr acts of violence. However, due to the nature of the problem I recommended she be put into the third ring as not only was she violent in her murderous plans for her husband, but she tried to make her husband appear as though he found himself higher then God. By making him do these she was in fact herself insulting to God. Therefore I find her guilty of violence and stamped her with a level 7.

Finally out of that family is the son. Now I know that according to legend the son was forgiven and the furies stopped chasing him, but in the real world he is being punished. You cannot kill a member of your family and go unpunished. In heaven and hell there is no “a life for a life.” You take a life and you are going down. Young Orestes killed his mother and there is no turning back from that. Therefore he resides in the depths of the ninth level of hell, alongside his father. While he is frozen in the first circle with his father they cannot see each other or gain any comfort from the others presence. His file is also stamped with a red level 9.

Moving on from that family we come to another infamous man from the Greeks. That would be Oedipus Rex. What would you do with a man that killed his father, and then married his mother? It is difficult indeed for him because while warned in his youth, he still did it. However he has also repented his wrong doings and therefore I debated where to put him. It is true that he unknowingly killed his father and this would either earn him a seventh level spot for violence to others, or a spot in the ninth level for treachery to kin. But what I looked at was that he did not know what he was doing. He did marry and bed his mother; however, he did not know that is what he was doing. In fact he had a very loving relationship with her as his wife. Now she could not handle what she had done and took her own life, so sadly she is in the seventh circle for committing suicide. But going back to Oedipus, I again had a difficult time placing him as he was repentant for what he had done. He even punished himself by gouging out his eyes. It was not his job to decide on his own punishment though. I decided to recommend him to the second level of hell for those who sins are of the lustful nature. However, this was rejected and he is in the ninth circle for sins against one’s kin. While he tried to seek redemption it was never for the one true God and so justice has been served. Now I put away the file with and X through the level 2 assignment and a larger red level 9 stamp next to it.

Finally on my list is the infamous Don Quixote and Sancho Plaza, but I shall begin with the first. Don Quixote was a hard one to judge because at first he set out only to help those in need. He believed himself to be a chivalrous knight and tried to protect those in need. However, he was easily beguiled and ended up leaving many in harms way, however unintended. Don Quixote also lies to Sancho Plaza to get him to come along with him in the first place, by telling him that he will make him the governor of an isle. He also hurts and endangers many citizens along his presumable knighthood quest. Because of all of his fraudulent lies to his country and the people in it, I recommended him for the ninth circle of hell. His file yields the level 9 stamp and he currently resides in Antenora, which is the second ring of the ninth circle.

Don Quixote’s faithful friend Sancho Plaza was a hard one to place. While he lied to his benefactor Don Quixote at one point, the majority of his time was spent trying to atone for all of Don Quixote’s bad deeds. Because Sancho Plaza ties so hard to make up for the bad things his master had done, I recommended that he be sent to the Ante-Inferno or Purgatory because he did not consciously live a good or bad life. He has been stamped as questionable and is currently awaiting a decision.

As I began to tell you I have quite an important job as God’s right hand woman. Deciding where to place the men and women that comes across my desk can be a difficult job. Trust me I have all the files to remember each and every one. My filing cabinet goes on for eternity (not an exaggeration). So I set about telling you this as a warning. Do not think that what you have done will not come back to haunt you just because you occasionally repent. There are things you do in life that you must atone for when you come across my desk. So next time you think of killing your mother, brother, father, etc., or you want to leap into that pre-marital sex bed, or you go to lie about something you think is small, just remember I am up here waiting with my stamp pad, ready to send you to the bowels of hell. Thank you and have a holy life!

Copyright © Nicole Schiavoni 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dante's Divine Comedy

Well as promised this blog post is all about Dante. It is really a listing of a bunch of places you can go to read about him, and of course the divine comedy. If you have never read it, or have only read the inferno, you should put it on your to do list!

“Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy”
The Digital Dante Project:
The digital Dante project was put out by the Institute for Learning Technologies at Columbia University. It is an online source with lots of information on Dante Alighieri and his Divine Comedy. On the homepage you have multiple options to choose from that range from Dante, to the comedy itself, to image collections that were done on the comedy. Under the comedy section you can read three different translations of Dante along with the original Italian text, simultaneously. In the library section, it not only gives you the text for the Divine Comedy, but also a link called “useful classics,” which gives you Paradise Lost, the Decameron, and Republic. Under the library tab is also scholarly work that has been done on the Divine Comedy, as well as student’s work that has been written on it. Under the link for image collections there are artwork that has been done on the Divine Comedy by Gustave Dore, Sandro Botticelli, Salvador Dali, and a few others. The images really help to bring the work to life. Under the tab for Dante himself you can find a short biography on him as well as a chronology of his life and works. It also provides links to other studies that have been done on Dante and more web resources. Overall digital Dante is a great site for research and has almost everything imaginable that has to do with Dante. It was obviously a project that took a lot of time and effort. On the whole I would have to say that if they don’t have it (which I doubt) then they probably have a link that will lead you to what you are looking for.
The Electronic Literature Foundation (ELF)’s Research Edition of the Divine Comedy:
This site features 27 full editions of the Divine Comedy including the original Italian text, English translations by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Rev. H.F. Cary, and translations in German and Finnish. There are also annotations from the Cary and Longfellow editions. The texts can be viewed in a variety of facing page, or parallel, formats. Along with reading the text itself graphics from Gustave Doré, Salvador Dali, and Sandro Botticelli are linked and they help to visualize the picture the text brings to mind. There are also maps of the afterlife, and sample illuminated manuscript pages from printed versions of the Divine Comedy. The maps of the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradisio, really help to bring together the works as a whole. This site also gives a brief chronology of the life and works of Dante Alighieri and it gives links to other Dante sources, though only a few. It also gives links to its main homepage and to other works of literature. This is a good research site.

The link for ELF’s main page that gives you many authors is:
The University of Texas at Austin’s Inferno Page:
This site gives you a great visual of hell as a spiraling Inferno. In the spiral you click on each spiral within the whole to link to the different cantos and circles of hell. Each link takes you through different symbolism and allusions the story brings out. It also gives you a visual to look at as it is breaking down the text. This site is great for someone who is having trouble understanding all that is going on in the Inferno. It is also a good site to use if you just want to learn more about the Inferno.
The University of Texas at Austin’s Purgatorio Page:
Just like with their Inferno page this site gives you different images and allusions throughout the story. It opens with the mountain of purgatory. It gives you different religious symbolism and show multiple meanings for the characters and references within the text. It also gives you study questions to answer on the story itself. You can look at the images in a gallery view or as you go through the sections of each canto.
The University of Texas at Austin’s Paradisio Page:
As with the other two pages this site takes you through the religious symbolism, the allusions, and meanings behind the text through visuals. Paradise is shown as a ring of colorful planets and you click on each to begin your journey through the stars. The images are quite beautiful and within each image are smaller images that make up the whole. This site is again a great resource for learning about Dante’s Paradisio and all three sites are great learning tools for the whole Divine Comedy.
A visual tour of hell:
This site is literally what it is called. It is a visual tour of hell. It opens with spirals and words from the text. Then you click on each circle of the spiral to go through hell. Within each circle you can click on “Dante,” to read the text, “Virgil,” for Virgil’s opinions, “Beast.” For the many beasts within hell, “Holy,” for a holy person or a holy occurrence, “Soul/Sinner,” to find out more about a lost soul or one of the damned, and there are various other symbols as well. Along with the small amounts of text are images that have been done on the text. This site does a great job of taking you through hell with pictures and short explanations that make it simple and easy to follow.
Dante Alighieri on the web:
This site is all about Dante, his time period, and the Divine Comedy. It has links about the author and his time period, along with a glossary of terms and people from the time period. This site has lots of information that would help in researching as well as an art gallery with lots of descriptions. It also helps to define the time period with its glossary of people and terms from the time period. While this site was made by a student there is a section that states who he is and that he is only a student and all the information is from what he learned at school. However it is also information he took the time out to copyright and reproduce and link. Also for interpretation purposes sometimes reading things on another student’s level can help with understanding.

Random amusing Dante site:
This site is a link that takes you to a test you can take to see what level of hell you would end up in.

You tube movies on Dante:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

So little time, so much to type :)

OK so it's officially been forever since I managed to type a new posting and I swear I am getting to it really soon. School and work have had me crazy busy but I am getting there. For a quick look at what is soon to come that you should check back for here is what I have recently read in order:
The Host By: Stephenie Meyers
Chosen By: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Marked By: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Betrayed By: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Waiting for Nick By: Nora Roberts
Dance Upon the Air By: Nora Roberts
Heaven and Earth By: Nora Roberts
Face the Fire By: Nora Roberts

And I have also read the Divine Comedy for my World Lit class and intend to make a posting on Dante and the Inferno, which is a classic all should read.
Ok soon to come my exciting thoughts on books!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Romance Novels

A quick note to my what like one reader :) I posted a lot at once and no one commented on my short story "What goes down, must come up" so please go back and read it :) Thanks. Also a note to AJ you should read all the Harry Potter novels and I have no idea how you managed to stop after 4 or 5 that's just sad! :)

Book #6: The Hollow By: Nora Roberts

Alright so far I have only been writing about fantasy type books, but I also happen to like romance novels. I was actually planning on reading a different book when I went to the store and realized that this one was out. The Hollow is the second book in Nora Roberts sign of seven trilogy. I like to read her books just because they are quick reads, and while you can usually guess that everyone is going to end up together and live happily ever after, they are still fun to read. Plus she usually has an interesting plot to go along with the story.

The sign of seven trilogy is about three men and three women and their fight with evil. It takes place in town called Hawkins Hollow where every seven years, madness takes over the town for seven days. The men are three best friends that took an oath to be blood brothers when they were ten. They ended up unleashing an evil power on the town. The interesting thing is that these three men were born on the same day, at the same time. They were all born in the seventh month (July) and on the seventh day. (In case you haven’t caught on the whole seven as an evil number thing). Their ancestor was a man named Gill Dents and he left his power to vanquish evil for them to find about 300 years later.

The first book was about Caleb and Quinn. Caleb and her both have the power to see the past. They get flashes from what happened before. The first book also introduced the rest of the characters. Fox and Layla, and Gage and Cybil.

This second book is about Fox and Layla, who both have the power to see the present. They can sense feelings and emotions, and also can read minds to some extent. This book was a fun read and I can’t wait till the end comes out in December. Here are a few quotes I enjoyed:

You’ll layer the rest onto it eventually. You’ll have to. You’re human and you’re female. We have to layer on emotions and concerns, consequences. ~Cybil

(Chapter 4, P. 67)

Perhaps love does not come in an instant, but takes lifetimes. Is this how I knew, in that instant, such love? ~Ann

(Chapter 9, P. 132)

Of course it’s not all right now. None of it’s all right. So I’m just going to hold on to you until I can handle it again. ~Layla

(Chapter 10, P. 155)

Any art, or music that gives you pleasure, or makes you think—or better makes you wonder; it’s—it’s what makes us human. The need to create it, to have it. ~Layla

(Chapter 11, P.176)

Ok so on to my next adventure in reading!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Harry Potter Mania!

Hello all! This past semester I had to read book 5 in the Harry Potter series for my coming of age in fiction class. So I decided that when the semester was over I would re-read the last two books again as well. This is one series I am sad came to an end. So on to my discussion…

Book # 4: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince By: J.K. Rowling

So, the fifth Harry Potter book left us with the wizarding world finally realizing that Voldemort had in fact come back to power. It also had Harry dealing with a lot of loss. In the end Harry loses his godfather Sirius and learns the prophecy about himself and Voldemort.

(Harry Potter Book 5, p. 841)

The shocking realization that Harry has to be the one to kill Voldemort or be killed by him deeply affects Harry. It is something that he has always suspected, but now he knows it is true. The sixth book opens with Dumbledore coming to fetch Harry from his aunt and uncle’s house. I like when Dumbledore tells off the Dursley’s with a simple statement.

You did not do as I asked. You have never treated Harry as a son. He has known nothing but neglect and often cruelty at your hands. The best that can be said is that he has at least escaped the appalling damage you have inflicted upon the unfortunate boy sitting between you.
(Chapter 3, P.55)

This is amusing because he is so calm about his blunt statement and of course the Dursley’s then turn and look around and get confused. They are confused because Dumbledore is of course talking about their son. Dudley is a fat and mean boy, who always picked on Harry and is very spoiled. After they leave, Dumbledore takes Harry with him to acquire a new teacher, and then on the way to the burrow tells Harry he wants Harry to take private lessons with him this year. These lessons end up being all about going into Dumbledore’s pensive and looking at past memories about Voldemort’s young life.

When Harry gets to school he finds out that Professor Snape will be teaching Defense against the dark arts and that Professor Slughorn will now be teaching potions. This is a shock to many students, including Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The only good thing is that now Harry can take Potions and continue with his hope of becoming an auror.

However, as Harry had not planned on taking potions he does not have the book or materials. So he has to borrow them from Slughorn. The copy of the potions book that Harry gets is covered with writing and at first Harry is annoyed, but then he looks at the directions in the book and realizes that all the little side notes help. Harry learns that the book is the property of someone who called himself the half-blood prince. The book has small spells and things that help Harry all year.

This year is an interesting one because romance finally blooms for the characters. It takes a long time, but it is interesting to watch. Ron and Hermione have always had some feelings toward each other, and now they are coming out. They get jealous and snippy at each other, and at first Ron starts dating another girl. Then Hermione dates someone she thinks will bother Ron. It’s amusing because that’s real. Boys can be stupid and not just come out with their feelings. Girls also can date other people just to make the boy they like jealous. It’s funny to read.

Getting back to Harry and Dumbledore’s exploration of Voldemort’s past indiscretions. They learn about Voldemort’ mother, a witch who was in love with a muggle. They also look at Riddle’s time in the orphanage. I love the idea of being able to pour your memories into a bowl and jump into them. It’s described in such a great way, and it makes you wish you could reach up to your temple and pull out your thoughts to relive them.

An amusing thing thrown into the story, from my point of view anyway, is the password for the Hogwarts common room. All the kids are falling in love, and dating, and “snogging” by this time. And the password to get into the common room is abstinence. I just found that funny when I came across that :)

When Harry and Dumbledore look at Professor Slughorn’s memory they discover something that Dumbledore had thought for awhile. They discover that Voldemort wanted to rip his soul into seven pieces, as seven is the most magical number. The have already destroyed two: the diary from the second book and the ring that destroyed Dumbledore’s hand in this book. They believe the other horcruxes are Hufflepuff’s cup, Slytheirn’s locket, the snake Nagini, the piece in Voldemort and something that might have been Ravenclaw’s or Gryffindor’s.

The next interesting thing to happen is when Harry and Ginny Weasley finally get together. It is interesting to read as Harry fights with himself about her being Ron’s sister and then finally when he doesn’t even realize what he’s doing and kisses her after the Gryffindor team wins a Quidditch match.

Another thing that Harry discovers in this novel is about Snape. When talking to Professor Trelawney he finds out that the one who told Voldemort the prophecy was none other then Snape. Harry is furious that it is Snape’s fault that his parents are dead, at least in Harry’s mind it is Snape’s fault.

The next thing that happens is that Harry and Dumbledore go to a cave by the sea that is where Voldemort hid one of the horcruxes. It’s dangerous and it takes awhile, and Dumbldore is weakened. They get back to the school and realize the Dark Mark is overhead. When they get up the top tower Dumbledore freezes Harry and throws the invisibility cloak over him. Malfoy is on top of the castle and we discover that it is indeed him who has been trying to kill Dumbledore all year. He was given the order by Voldemort of course. Malfoy cannot seem to get up the courage to kill and in the end Snape kills Dumbledore. At this point Harry is unfrozen and runs after Snape who is escaping with Malfoy and the other death eaters. Harry tries to throw spells at Snape, but then Snape gets angry and yells to Harry that he will not have his own spells thrown at him as he is the half-blood prince. This is a shock for Harry who had thought the prince great and helpful till this time.

In Madame Pomfey’s, which is like a nurse’s office, another interesting thing happens amongst the death and sadness. Bill, Ron’s older brother, has been mauled by a werewolf, but his fiancĂ© Fleur, the gorgeous siren, does not care and still wants to be with him. This is when we find out that Tonks is in love with Remus Lupin, the werewolf. She tells Lupin that Fleur doesn’t care and neither does she. J.K. Rowlings does a great job of showing the differences in species and races here. She shows bigotry and skepticism in a story without throwing it in your face. It’s great.

The final event is Dumbledore’s funeral. This is hypocritical to some extent to Harry because he sees many people that he knows don’t care. For example, the evil Umbridge from the ministry. At the funeral Harry decides that he will not be going back to school the next year. He will be finding the Horcruxes and destroying them so that he can eventually kill Voldemort. He breaks up with Ginny and tells Ron and Hermione. They tell Harry that they are coming with him, no arguments.

I love the final line in the book because it ends with a small sense of hope…

…in spite of the final meeting with Voldemort he knew must come, whether in a month, in a year, or in ten, he felt his heart lift at the thought that there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione. ~Harry (P. 652).

Ah the power of friendship!

Book #5 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows By: J.K. Rowlings

The final book in the Harry Potter series made me so sad when it first came out. It was like the end of an era L. It was an awesome book, but I didn’t want it to end and yet I wanted to know what happened. I’ve re-read it and it still is as great as before. I think it shows true quality when a book is something you want to read again.

This book begins with the Dursleys being spirited off into hiding for their safety. Harry finally comes to terms with his cousin and shakes hands with him. And then Harry himself is spirited to safety through the use of seven polyjuice potion Harry Potters.

As I went through this book I randomly marked places and quotes that I found interesting so hear we go. My first comment is on the wizarding world. Did you ever notice that there is no technology in it? Can you imagine living without a dishwasher, washer, dryer, cell phone, and car? No, it’s very hard, but then again I guess if I had magic then it might be cool. I love the character of Mr. Weasley who is so fascinated with “muggle” things. He is forever taking them apart. After the flight of the seven Potter’s Mr. Weasley tells Harry about having Sirius’s bike and wanting to take it apart to figure it out. Interesting stuff!

Hermione is such an interesting witch and I loved watching her evolve through the series. She is so smart and yet I think Harry and Ron make her more human and bring her down to earth. In this novel when she is telling Harry and Ron about her parents it is very sad. To keep them hidden and safe she has modified their memories, so they believe they are different people, who do not have a daughter. The way she says it matter-a-factly with tears in her eyes is heart wrenching.

“The Takes of Beedle and the Bard” appear to be the wizarding world’s Grimm’s brothers or Hans Christian Anderson.

Oh come on! All the kids’ stories are supposed to be Beedle’s, aren’t they? ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’… ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’… ‘Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump’ ~Ron

Ron, you know full well Harry and I were brought up by Muggles! We didn’t hear stories like that when we were little, we heard ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ and ‘Cinderella’—” ~Hermione

What’s that an illness? ~Ron

The idea of the wizarding world being so separate that they have their own fairy tales and Ron, who has never been around muggles thinks the stories are an illness is hilarious.

In the fifth book Harry had to take Occlumency lessons because Dumbledore wanted Harry to block out Voldemort, but now in the seventh book they are so strongly connected. Harry gets flashes all throughout the book of what Voldemort is doing, who he is killing, and when Voldemort is overly emotional.

The Tale of the Three Brothers is an interesting tale that gives them the story of the Hallows. The three brothers who met death. The oldest brother asked for a wand more powerful then any other. The second brother asked for the power to recall others from death, with a stone. The third brother asked for a cloak of invisibility. These three items together make up the hallows. The Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Cloak of Invisibility make up the Deathly Hallows. I love how J.K. Rowlings makes stories within the whole.

Ron is always talking about things that are common knowledge in the wizarding world, common sayings, stories, superstitions. He always forgets that Harry and Hermione were raised by muggles and don’t know these things.

‘May-born witches will marry Muggles.’ ‘Jinx by twilight, undone by midnight.’ ‘Wand of elder, never prosper.’ ~Ron (Chapter 21, P. 414)

I absolutely love Luna Lovegood’s ceiling. “Loony Luna” is a slightly crazy character yet she has an uncanny ability to speak the hard truths. Her ceiling is a painting of her friends. I also find her name amusing love-good.

Luna had decorated her room ceiling with five beautifully painted faces: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Neville…what appeared to be golden chains wove around the pictures…the chains were actually one word, repeated a thousand times in golden ink: friends…friends…friends
(Chapter 21, P. 417)

Harry shows his appreciation and love for friends no matter who they are when he buries Dobby the house elf. He also rescued a goblin just because it was the right thing to do. These are things that many wizard would not have done. The goblin sees that Harry is different.

If there were a wizard of whom I would believe that they did not seek personal gain it would be you, Harry Potter. Goblins and house elves are not used to the protection or the respect that you have shown this night.
(Chapter 24, P. 488)

I like how things come full circle in a way for Harry when Lupin asks him to be godfather to baby Ted.

As I said before Rowlings shows Bigotry and horrors without yelling about them. You can see this in the sad story of Dumbledore’s little sister and the three muggle boys that tortured the poor girl at the age of six for being a “little freak.” This story was very sad and realistic because people are tortured just for being different.

When Harry and Luna need to get into Ravenclaw tower we learn that their password isn’t simply a password but a question that requires knowledge and reasoning. I like this. I also enjoyed the question.

Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?
(Chapter 29, P. 587)

This is also the book where Percy finally makes up with his family. At the very end when they are about to fight Voldemort he comes back to help and apologizes for being a git.
A sad note for the Weasley family is Fred’s death. It’s realistic that not everyone will survive, and Lupin and Tonks die to, but it’s still sad to read.

In the end we find out that Snape was good all along. I like that this is found out by the pensive of magical thoughts. Harry discovers that Snape had been in love with his mother forever. Losing Lily Potter killed all feelings Snape had towards Voldemort. This is why Dumbledore knew Snape was a good guy. It’s almost sad to find out at the end how much Snape cared for Lily, and yet he could never be anything but terrible to Harry because of the hate for Harry’s father. It is also through Snape that Harry realizes he must sacrifice himself to save the others.

As Harry is walking to his death he realizes:

Hogwarts was the first and best home he had known. He and Voldmeort and Snape, the abandoned boys, had all found home here…
(Chapter 34, P. 697).

As Harry goes to his death he gets the resurrection stone from the snitch and Lily, James, Sirius, and Lupin all walk with him. When Voldemort “kills” Harry and he ends up at a cross-roads, so to speak, he speaks with Dumbledore and realizes what he needs to do.

…perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those, who like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find their own surprise that they wear it well. ~Dumbledore
(Chapter 35, P. 718)

Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love. ~Dumbledore
(Chapter 35, P. 722)

During the final battle I love when Mrs. Weasley yells out “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” (P. 736) as she is about to fight off Bellatrix from Ginny. I just find it funny and I love the character of Mrs. Weasley so it needed a comment.

At the end when Harry calls Voldemort Riddle and is telling him what Harry knows better, it’s just great. You kind of have to cheer Harry on as you read it.

You won’t be able to kill them ever again. Don’t you get it? I was ready to die to stop you from hurting these people—I meant to and that’s what did it. I’ve done what my mother did…you can’t touch them. You don’t learn from your mistakes, Riddle, do you? ~Harry
(Chapter 36, P. 738)

Severus Snape wasn’t yours. Snape was Dumbledore’s, Dumbledore’s from the moment you started hunting down my mother…he loved her for nearly all of his life, from the time when they were children… ~Harry
(Chapter 36, P. 740)

Harry of course defeats Voldemort, but I like the ending and of course good has to triumph evil. I just enjoy the story behind the why and how it all ties together.

The Last thing Harry says is funny:

And quite honestly, I’ve ha enough trouble for a lifetime. ~Harry
(Chapter 36, P. 749)

Some people have said that the end bothers them because everyone ends up together and that’s just too happily ever after for them. However, I like the epilogue and that it happens. There is nothing wrong with wanting everything to turn out ok and love to triumph. The only thing that makes me sad is that the books are over. Also I will be SO SO angry if they ruin the story with the last movies. The movies progressively piss me off with all they leave out and if they ruin the end I will just take angry to a new level! I’m not going to go into that though so I will leave you with this: if you haven’t read the Harry Potter books and you’ve only watched the movies you are sorely missing out and you need to go READ NOW! :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More Love for Twilight

Ok So I already professed my deep love for the series Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. I was just perusing her website and came across an article that was put out by Time that does a great job pf explaining certain parts of her novels. You should definitely read it! Her new novel The Host, just came out today and I of course now want to go and buy it. Just another book to add to the many I want to read. But anyway go check out this awesome review it had some things that I never thought about and some facts on Stephenie that I did not know. Quick comments on the books I'm not sure I mentioned in my own reviews. The books are great because of how they sell the ideas of vampire and humans and choosing “different path." Also they are great because they are designed for young adults but their is no sex! Edward and Bella have a deep connection, but never do more then kiss. It's a great way for teenagers to relate to and to realize that they can wait. Anyway I love these books and I loved this article. Also I found it amusing because my next post is going to be on the final two Harry Potter novels and this article is called "Stephenie Meyer: A New J. K. Rowling?",9171,1734838,00.html This is the link for the article. Check it out!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Summer Reading List

My Summer Reading List

Hello! So, as I stated in my first blog entry, I love to read! It’s a passion, and obsession, and it usually ends up being a distraction. :) However, finally my semester is over and I can read for fun. It is not that I do not enjoy the books that I read for school, because usually I do, but I love to read for fun and if I try to during the semester then I get caught up in it and tend to ignore all else. So, now that the semester is over I am going to read as much as I can. As I mentioned before, for me, reading is totally an obsession. When I read I get lost in worlds of fantasy, adventure, reality, make believe, and nothing else is important. I’m one of those people who will always have a book with them just in case there is an opportunity to read it. I’ve actually been known to read at red lights in my car when I’m really into a book. :) As I said it’s a sickness. :) So why the heck am I rambling on about my reading obsession? Well I have decided to post a blog about every book I read this summer to try and keep track of them all. Hopefully I will keep up with myself as I have already read four since I made the decision. (As I said I get really caught up and I read really fast). If you decide to be one of the few people that read my blog :) then you will be going on a tour of literature (and other genres) over the summer. So to start the journey I begin with a book I already said a little bit about.

Book #1: Twilight By: Stephenie Meyer
Alright so in my first blog I described how much I enjoy the twilight books. At that point it was the very end of my semester and I was supposed to be reading school books. Both of which ended up being very good, I may read the one books sequel for fun. But getting back to Twilight, I won’t overly discuss the first one since I started to already. I totally suggest checking out Stephenie Meyer’s website at also check out

First I would like to share a couple of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Do I dazzle you?” ~Edward
(Chapter 8, p. 168)

About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him— and I didn’t know how potent that part might be—that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him. ~Bella
(Chapter 9, p.195)

Edward in the sunlight was shocking…His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday’s hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. ~Bella
(Chapter 13, p. 260)

“Bella, I couldn’t live with myself if I ever hurt you. You don’t know how it’s tortured me. The thought of you, still, white, cold…to never see you blush scarlet again, to never see that flash of intuition in your eyes when you see through my would be unendurable.” ~Edward
(Chapter 13, p. 273)

“I’m betting on Alice.” ~Bella
(Chapter 24, p. 480)

Ok, so enough quotes, that just gives you a taste of the book. As I’ve said previously the Twilight books are about a girl named Bella and a vampire named Edward. I love what Stephenie Meyer does with the story and how she changes all previous notions on vampires, but again check out my first blog to read further into those thoughts. Alright moving on…

Book 2: New Moon By: Stephenie Meyer

As you probably guessed this is the second book in the twilight series. New moon introduces us to some new characters and takes a few minor characters and brings them front and center. He opening of the novel has Bella dreading her birthday. She turns eighteen and hat makes her a year older then Edward. Her worst fear is that she will grow old and decrepit while he remains young and beautiful. The Cullen family throws her a birthday party almost entirely designed by Alice, Edward’s “sister.” However, well meaning the party was meant to be it ends with Bella being hurt and Jasper, Edward’s “brother,” wanting to kill Bella.

Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm—into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires. ~Bella
(Chapter 1, p. 29)

So, everything works itself out for Bella being safe and whole, b the incident leaves Edward once again worried for her life. He decides that it would be better for her if he leaves and so he does just that. He has to lie to Bella and tell her he doesn’t love her, and because she always felt inferior she believes him. When he leaves it is like a part of Bella dies. For four months she is like the walking dead. She is an empty shell. When her father, Charlie calls her lifeless she decides to appease him to go out with a friends. They go to a zombie movie and while watching it she realizes that she resembles the zombie, a lifeless shell. This is when she starts taking notice of the things around her. She realizes how much she is missing and how people have given up on her. She starts to take notice of new people and observes how others act like she isn’t there. When she is at lunch and she makes a comment, her whole table is stunned into silence for a few seconds because she hasn’t spoken in so long.
What really brings Bella out of her depression? Jacob Black. Jacob was in the first book as a minor character. He is from the Quillette tribe and he is Billy Black’s son. In the first book Jacob had a bit of a crush on Bella. His father Billy is one of the tribe elders and believes all the legends of the “cold ones.” Up till now Jacob though all the legends were just stories and ridiculous. The reason that Jacob becomes a huge player in this novel begins with a simple choice by Bella. She wants to do something reckless and dangerous and so she picks up two broken down motorcycles. She knows Jacob works on cars and decides to take the bikes to him. To make a long story short Jacob works on the bikes and him and Bella hang out all the time. Jacob’s happiness and general qualities bring out a new side to Bella. The whole in her heart still aches and she still has times where she can’t breathe from the pain, but when she is with Jacob she can be close to happy. Of course this is Bella we’re talking about so there has to be a twist. The twist is that Jacob turns into a werewolf. As with many of the young men in the tribe Jacob becomes a werewolf. It is then that he finds out all the legends are true. The werewolf is the naturally enemy of the vampire and so there are many problems with this new found identity of his that prove to be problems later on.
Moving on to a bit farther in the book, Bella is still hoping for recklessness and so she goes cliff diving. She almost dies, but then is saved by Jacob. However, Alice Cullen so in one of her visions Bella jumping from the cliff. She then saw Bella’s future disappear, which of course is disconcerting. Later on we find out this is because Alice cannot see the future of the werewolves. So, why is this such a big deal? Alice saw Bella jump and possibly die so of course she comes to check on her. In the mean time Rosalie tracks down Edward and tells him that Bella has killed herself. At this point Edward decides to go to Italy to Voltera to ask the century old Volturi vampires to kill him. This is another aspect of the story I enjoy because of course there have to be bad evil vampires. And to have a whole city of the “royalty” of their kind is jut another ingenious aspect I enjoy. But moving on Bella and Alice fly to Italy to try to save Edward.
So they do in fact find him and after many other problems in Voltera (I don’t want to give away the whole book after all) they had back to Forks. When they go back and Edward explains all to Bella and expains that he was dying without her and would have come back soon enough. She at first does not believe him but finally the realization that he does truly love her hits.

I thought I’d explained it clearly before. Bella, I can’t live in a world where you don’t exist. ~Edward
(Chapter 23, p. 509)

How can I put this so you’ll believe me? You’re not asleep and you’re not dead. I’m here, and I love you. I have always loved you, and I will always love you. I was thinking of you, seeing your face in my mind, every second that I was away. When I told you that I didn’t want you, it was the very blackest kind of blasphemy. ~Edward
(Chapter 23, p. 510)

Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars—points of light and reason…And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason for everything. ~Edward
(Chapter 23, p. 514)

Ok, so yes it might just be a female thing, but I am definitely a sucker for love stories. I don’t know how you can’t be even if reality proves to us that real life is not a fairy tale and there aren’t always happy endings, I think you still have to have hope. So of course the idea of soul mates and there being only one person to complete you out there is appealing to read.
As I’m sitting here typing it occurs to me that I forgot a few interesting points on Edward’s family. Carlisle, his “father,” has an interesting outlook on the world and the life he has been dealt. Interestingly he is actually about 363 years old, as he was born in the 1640’s in London, but of course still looks eternally 23. But anyway Carlisle’s father was an Anglican pastor in a vicarage. So Carlisle was raised in a rather religious background. (This background is in the first book, woven into the story). The point of that short amount of detail into Carlisle’s history leads to my point that Carlisle still believes in a heaven and a hell and that they have souls. Edward’s huge problem with changing Bella is that he does not believe they have a soul. But what I had forgot to mention was that when Edward thought Bella had died and he thought he was being killed as well he said, “Amazing, Carlisle was right” (Chapter 20, p. 452) He says this because he believes that he has died and Bella is dead and therefore they are both in heaven. This whole thing later comes to the point that Bella tells him that he must have hope in him because of what he said. Ok those are my last thoughts on the second book. Finally on to book three.

Book #3: Eclipse By: Stephenie Meyer

Yea my final book for this installment. I think I’m going to have to make an effort to limit myself to one or maybe two books per post. I was actually going to make this post on four books but since typing have changed my mind :) Alright so when this book begins Bella is very upset from having to choose between her best friend (Jacob) and the love of her life (Edward). At first Edward does not want her to go anywhere with Jacob because after all Jacob is a young werewolf and therefore not in full control of himself and dangerous. This is of course amusing because to Edward Bella is safer at his house, a home full of vampires. :) After a time though Edward realizes that he does not want to make Bella choose and it hurts her to do so. Therefore he tells her that she can go to see Jacob. The only thing that he does want is for her to allow him to drive her to the border of La Push and Jacob picks her up there. Bella agrees to this, but says she feels like a child being passed off between divorced parents. There is also trouble brewing in this book, of course. The trouble is that it appears a newborn vampire is rampaging through Seattle. As time goes on the death toll in Seattle gets higher and higher. Finally the Cullens realize that if they do not want the Volturi coming in they will have to do something. They also realize that it is not just one vampire but what appears to be an army of newborn vampires. It as at this point that we learn a little bit about Jasper’s history. Jasper was in the army in the south in the early 1900s and he was changed for the sole purpose of the vampire wars. He was made by a female named Maria and together they made armies to fight for territory in the south. Because of Jasper’s ability to control emotions their army is able to fight together like no army has before. However, after time the emotions are getting to Jasper and he becomes depressed. While he can control the emotions of others he also feels emotions all the time. Therefore he is always in a constant state of emotional upheaval. Eventually he leaves the south and that is when Alice finds him and together they find the Cullens. After learning about Jasper’s history Bella better understands him. The threat of a vampire army doesn’t entirely make sense until they realize it is connected to Victoria. Victoria is the mate of a vampire that tried to kill Bella in the first book. In that book Edward kills the vampire, and of course a lot else happens, but you should read it to find out! Victoria has decided to kill Bella, “a mate for a mate.” So she has made the army to fight the Cullens and to get to Bella. Anyway the vampires and werewolves ban together to fight and lots of things happen. I don’t want to go into all of it so I’m only going to speak on two more things.
The first is that Bella decides to marry Edward. Bella wants to spend eternity with Edward and to so she wants to become a vampire. Carlisle agrees to do it for her after graduation, but really Bella wants Edward to be the one to change her. Edwards tells her he will if she marries him first. This is difficult for Bella because marriage has always been a bad thing for her. Her mother’s relationships have made her feel this way. She tells Edward that she is not that girl that gets knocked up and married right out of high school. But of course Edward is that boy that would have proposed and had a big wedding because he was born in the early 1900s. Anyway long story short Bella agrees to marry him. Its not that she has any bad feelings of being with him for eternity, because that’s what she wants. He is the other half of her soul and she can’t live without him. But the idea of marriage is what she’s against.
The final thing that happens is that Bella has a request for Edward before she becomes a vampire. Something she says she wants to experience as a human. She wants to be with Edward even though he tells her it is too dangerous. (Another part of the novels I like is that since they are meant for teenagers, it’s a good example, no one ever does more then kiss, a lot.) Edward agrees to try but he does not wish to try until after they are married :) This is an interesting part as well.
Ok if I type anymore I am going to go cross eyed. I will simply state once again that I love this series and I can’t wait for the fourth one to come out in August!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"What goes down, must come up"

“What goes down, must come up”

She sat at the desk staring off into space. There was a notebook in front of her full of sentences. An open book lay next to the notebook, and she held a pen in her right hand. She had straight blonde hair, which fell to her shoulders in waves. Her blue eyes weren’t focused and appeared to be off in another world. She was sitting in English class at her local suburban high school. As she stared into space, a man stood at the front of the room lecturing to a class of students who were not paying attention at all. There were boys flicking spitballs at each other and girls doing their make-up. No one seemed to be paying attention to the man in the front of the room.

Ring! Ring! The bell rang signaling the end of the period.

The blonde girl’s eyes blinked, and she quickly gathered her books and stood up. She walked out of the classroom and into a sea of students. The hallways were so crowded, she could barely move without bumping into someone. Lost in her own world of thoughts, she glided along towards her next class.

“Gaby! Gaby!” a boy shouted across the hall. He was 5’8’’, just two inches taller then her. He had olive skin and dark hair that would have been an afro if he didn’t keep it shaved so close to his scalp. His father was Egyptian, and you could see the heritage in the boy.

She slowed down and wound through a maze of students to where the boy was shouting from. “Hey, Brian. What’s up?” the girl asked.

“Not much. Just on my way to trig.”

“Yeah. I’m on my way to Algebra. Ugh. I hate having math at the end of the day,” she whined rolling her eyes at the ceiling.

“Definitely. It sucks! Hey, are we still going out after school?”

“I guess so. We chillin’ at your place, or are we going out?”

“I don’t know. I guess—”

Ring! Ring! The bell interrupted him.

Giving him a quick hug, Gaby shouted, “We’ll figure it out later. I’ll meet you at your car.” She quickly ran across the hall and ducked into a classroom as he ran off in the opposite direction.

* * * * *

She walked across the school’s parking lot and down the street. She went down behind the shopping center to the parking lot that was behind the stores. Throwing her book bag onto the trunk of Brian’s car, she hopped up onto the trunk and sat down to wait for him. Tucking her legs up to her chest, her mind began to wander off to what she had been thinking about all day. It was what she thought about everyday.

I’m never going to be thin enough. I can’t believe I ate so much for lunch, and I’m hungry again. Ugh, I don’t know how anyone can stand to look at me. I need to work out extra hard at practice tonight. I hope coach assigns us hundreds of crunches. Wait, that’s crazy why would I want to do hundreds of crunches. Oh, yea, cause I’m a fat cow. Duh! I better not eat anything else today. Ugh! I hate the way I look.

Meanwhile, as Gaby was slowly sinking into her usual depressed state, Brian was walking across the parking lot staring at her. His mind was wandering as well—only it was on her. I wish we were more then just friends. How am I going to get her to understand that I like her? She knows, but I don’t think she really gets it. I would do anything for her. We’ve been best friends forever, but I wish we were more. He looked at her sitting on his car. She was wearing blue jeans and her favorite tight purple t-shirt. Her blonde hair was blowing in the wind, but she wasn’t paying attention. He could see that her knees were drawn up to her chest and she was lost in thought. Her gaze was fixed on something far in the distance that he knew only she could see. She’s so beautiful, he thought to himself. I wish she thought so. He knew that his friend had issues with her appearance and her weight, and he always tried to convince her she was perfect. However, like most teenage girls, she argued with him and said she was fat.

He knew her problems went deeper then the average female, because she was always so unhappy. He wanted to help her feel better about herself, but he didn’t know how. The two of them were like two peas in a pod. They were so close that if one was in pain then so was the other. Sometimes they joked that they were soul mates or two halves of a whole. He wished she wasn’t kidding around when they talked about it, but what he didn’t know was that she did truly feel that way. She just had so much going on she didn’t want to risk losing him on top of it. He was her everything.

“Hey, Gaby. Whatcha doing?” Brian asked as he hopped up onto the back of the car with her.

“Just thinking, Bri. You know me. I think too much.”

“So, where are we going?” he asked.

“Whatever. Why don’t we just go back to your place till we decide?”

“Ok. Let’s get out of this place,” he said, jumping off the car and offering her a hand down.

She took his hand and hopped off the car. Grabbing her bag and opening the car door, she threw her backpack onto the back seat. She sank into the passenger seat and looked over at her best friend. “Bri-bri,” she said fluttering her eyelashes at him, “can we pppllleeease put the top down.”

He rolled his eyes, “A’ight, but if you whine about your hair getting messed up, I so do not want to hear it.”

“Thank you, love. I just feel like having the wind on my face today,” she said reaching up to unhook the clasp on her side of the car.

The roof was fastened to the car by a metal clasp on both sides. Once both of them had unhooked each side of the roof, Brian pressed a button and the roof slid off and into the trunk. He had a silver Chrysler Lebaron with a convertible top and black leather seats. It was ten years old, a 1990, but that just gave it character.

Gaby leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes. “It’s been such a long day. I can’t wait to just relax.”

Brian put the car in gear and sped out of the parking lot and down the street. “Yea, I know I thought today was never gonna end.”

“Hey, Gaby, I’m starving you want to go grab something to eat?” he looked at her out of the corner of his eye, as he asked.

“Sure, why not,” she responded in a normal voice, but her mind filled with dread and she kept her eyes closed trying not to think of what lay ahead.

“Let’s go to Wendy’s,” Brian said. They were right across the street from one, so he slowed down and turned into the parking lot. He shut the engine off and opened his door.

“I don’t feel like putting the top up so just grab your bag, k-ay?”

“Bri, I don’t feel like carrying my books, I just lugged them around all day,” she whined.

“Fine,” he rolled his eyes, “as usual I’ll do it for you.” He went to reach for her bag, as they got out of the car.

“No, whatever, I’ll do it,” she grabbed her bag.

They walked across the black top and towards Wendy’s. As they reached the door he held it open for her saying, “After you sweetheart,” in a fake gentleman’s tone.

She laughed, “Why thank you kind ser,” she rolled her eyes at him, and walked into the store.

They walked up to the line and leaned against the metal railings, while deciding what to have.

“Can I help you?” a young man asked, from behind the cash register.

“Yeah, I’ll have a junior bacon cheeseburger meal, with a large cherry coke,” Brian said. “What do you want Gaby?” he turned to look at her.

“Umm, I guess I’ll just get my usual,” she told Brian.

Then she turned to the young kid at the register and said, “I’ll have a small diet coke with no ice and a taco salad.” She went to reach for her wallet, but was stopped by Brian’s voice.

“Don’t worry about it, Gaby, like I ever let you pay, anyway,” he rolled his eyes at her and handed the boy a twenty.

“I’ll take our bags to a booth. You grab the food. Ok?” Gaby told Brian.

“A’ight, grab napkins and straws on your way,” Brian said, handing her his school bag.

She wandered over to a booth and dumped their things on the seats. Then she walked over to the condiments bar and grabbed ketchup, napkins, and straws. She walked back to the booth and sat down to wait for Brian.

He appeared a minute later and put the tray of food down in front of her. “Dig in!”

She smiled and reached for her soda and salad. She put her salad, chips, chili, and soda in front of herself, and then pushed the tray back over towards him.

Ok, she thought to herself, its just food. It’s not even that fattening. I can do this. I should eat something. It’s only food. She had a pattern for how she ate. It was like a little game she played with herself, whenever she ate. The soda went in the top right corner. She placed the salad in the middle with the lid taken off and slightly to the right. She opened the chili and dumped it into the lid of the salad, and she started picking all the beans out of the chili and putting them in a napkin.

Brian rolled his eyes at her, “Gaby, you are so crazy. The beans are the best part of chili.”

“Well, I think they’re gross,” she responded without taking her eyes from the task she was completing.

When it came to food, everything had to be perfect. She finished picking out all of the beans and carefully poured the chili back into its cup. Then she got up and took the salad lid and the napkin of beans to the trash. Sitting back down she opened the bag of tortilla chips and put it to the left of the salad bowl, and the chili went to the right of the salad bowl.

By this time Brian was already done half his burger, but he knew she was obsessed when it came to how she ate. “I love you even though your nuts,” he told her smiling.

“I’m not nuts, Bri. I’m OCD. Duh there’s a difference.”

“Yea, whatever, I still say your nuts.”

She rolled her eyes and finally started to eat.

* * * * *

They were both finished eating, but still had no plans on what to do later. “Want me to get us some chocolate milkshakes,” Gaby asked.

“Dude,” he said smiling at her.

She rolled her eyes, knowing that meant yes, and got up to go buy them. She felt guilty about it, but knew it would be easier if she had ice cream.

After buying them she went back to the table and started drinking. Ok, it’s not terrible. I just ate too much. I can’t not do it. Thank God for the ice cream. At least it won’t hurt as much this time, she thought to herself.

“Earth to Gaby, come in Gaby,” Brian waved his hand in her face. “You’re like lost in another world. Whatcha’ thinking about?”

“Oh, nothing, just about how much work we have to do at practice tonight to get ready for nationals. I can’t believe they’re only 3 weeks away.” She felt guilty about lying to him, but technically she was worried about nationals, that just wasn’t what she was currently thinking about.

“Gaby, you guys are awesome. You’ll kick ass in Texas. I’m still taking you tonight right?” he asked her.

“Yea, if you can. Are you going to stay and watch?”

“If you want me to, than of course. I’m always up for watching girls in tight shorts do flips and splits,” he laughed.

She was an all-star cheerleader, and her squad was going to nationals in Dallas, Texas, that year.

“Hey, Bri, I’ll be right back. I’m just gonna run to the bathroom before we go.” She opened her backpack and grabbed her black purse as she stood up. She felt guilty as she walked to the bathroom but couldn’t stop herself. It was as if she was compelled by some force that would not let her stop. What goes down, must come up, she thought to herself. At least it will be easier because of the ice cream.

She walked down the little hallway that led to the bathroom, opened the door and began what had become a frighteningly familiar process. She closed the large gray door and locked it. Her purse was thrown onto the floor next to the door. She flipped her head upside down and taking the black hair band off her wrist she put her hair into a quick messy bun on top of her head. She always had the hair band for when she needed it. Using the toe of her left shoe, she kicked up the toilet seat. Leaning over the bowl she stuck her pointer and middle finger of her right hand down her throat. What goes down, must come up, she thought to herself again.

* * * * *

She was finished. She used her foot to the flush the toilet and kick the seat down. Calmly she walked over to the mirror and turning on the faucet she rinsed off her hands and then splashed cold water on her face. She glanced at her hand, Next time I’m going to have to switch fingers or I’m going to get a mark on my knuckles from the acid. She was meticulous about making sure nothing appeared out of the ordinary. The steps she went through to clean up were like second nature to her now.

She gargled with cold water twice and then took a paper towel to dry off her face. She reached over to her purse and picked it up from the floor. She took out eye drops, a hairbrush, a pack of gum, and lip gloss, and laid them out on the sink. First, she popped a piece of gum into her mouth. Then she took the hair tie out and brushed her hair out, so it was shiny and flowing down to her shoulders again. Then she picked up the eye drops, and leaned her head back, putting one drop in each eye. She blinked, and her eyes were clear again. Unruffled from what she had just done, she glossed her lips and smiled into the mirror, but the smile didn’t quite reach her eyes. Just like new, he’ll never notice. Picking up her purse from the counter she put everything back in and opened the bathroom door.

As she was walking back to Brian, she thought, Ok it’s just this once. I won’t do it again. I’ll eat healthier and just work out extra hard. I can do this. I could stop if I wanted to. She slapped a smile into place, and saw Brian see her, and a smile light up his face. A little voice in the back of her head said, Yea right, you won’t do it again, until next time.

© copyright Nicole Schiavoni 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just Another Day

So I wrote this short story last semester in my creative writing class. I was trying to think of what to write and I began by describing a typical saturday morning at my house then the story spiraled out of control:) The story is loosely based on reality, soif you know me remember it is not my life, but a story! Hope you enjoy!

Just Another Day

The house was immaculate. Everything had its own little place. You could not find a stray crumb on the floor or on any of the counters. All the toys were in labeled boxes, the clothes had been put away, and the tiny shoes and jackets were lined up by the door. Then suddenly it happened.

“Mommy! I need you!” A small voice came out from a little room at the end of the hall.

“I’m coming sweetie,” yelled a tired looking woman, pushing the hair out of her eyes, as she dragged herself down the hall. “What’s the matter, munchkin?” she asked, as she went through the door.

“Mommy, lay with me,” the boy responded.

“Joey, it’s five in the morning. It’s time to go back to sleep.”

“Mommy, lay with me, pppllleeasee,” the boy asked again, dragging out the syllables.
“Ok, but just for a couple of minutes,” she said, getting into bed with him. She closed her eyes for a minute.

“Mommy, what you doing?” the boy asked.

“Trying to sleep, you silly goose. You should join me.”

“Mommy, you’re silly.”

“No, you’re silly. I’m sleepy,” she said as she snuggled him closer. They lay together for a few more minutes, and the boy finally went back to sleep. Slowly the woman untangled her arms from him. Inching away from the tangled mass of arms and blankets that was her son, she carefully put one foot on the floor and then the next, and silently walked backwards out of the room. “Time to start another day,” she whispered to herself.

An hour and a half later, after a long shower, Anne was dressed. While making breakfast she started to hear voices in the other room.

“Daddy, it’s wake up time! Daddy, wake up, wake up, wake up ins.”

“Hey, goose. I was sleeping and you woke me up, silly head,” the man said as he sat up in bed. “Where is your mommy at?”

“She’s making breakfast,” Joey responded. “Come on Daddy I’m hungry,” the little boy said tugging on the man’s hand. “Let’s go!”

“Boys, it’s pancake time,” Anne yelled.

“I want pancakes, and syrup, and butter, and syrup, and pancakes, and bacon!” the boy exclaimed excitedly.

“Well, someone is hungry,” Anne said. To her husband she said, “Good Morning, Lee. Sleeping in a bit late, aren’t you?”

“Come on, honey,” he said kissing her cheek. “It’s Saturday, and besides it’s only 8am!”

“Well I’ve been up for two hours,” she replied.

“Yes, but your crazy,” he said with a smile.

“Joey, let Mommy cut your pancakes up”

“I want too much syrup, Mommy,” Joey said. “No, no, Mommy that’s not enough. I want too much,” he said again as Anne poured syrup on his plate.

“Wow, buddy, that’s way too much syrup,” Lee exclaimed, winking at his wife

“Yes, it is!” Joey declared, with a smirking little smile. Then he dug into his breakfast.
“We need to go to Home Depot today,” Lee said.

“Oh, joy, yet another exciting hour spent pointing out the same stuff I already told you I like the last fifty times we went there,” Anne sighed. She hated going to Home Depot to pick out things for their house. Every time they went, Lee asked her to look at the same cabinets, the same carpeting, and the same tiles, she thought to herself.

“We need to decide on what tile you want for the bathroom, and we don’t look at the same stuff every time we go,” he said, reading her thoughts.

“Yes, we do,” she said.

“No, we don’t. If I picked out all this stuff, I would install it, and you would get mad saying that you hated everything, and I am not dealing with that, so we are going.”
“Fine, but this is the last time!” she exclaimed. She said that every time they went.
Meanwhile, Joey had finished his breakfast and decided it was time to play. This, of course, meant that he got down from his chair and went over to the neatly labeled toy boxes and geared up to destroy the clean order of the house.

In the kitchen there was another form of chaos brewing. Anne was rinsing the dishes and putting them into the dishwasher. She had an order for the way everything was done. With the dishes, it was rinse under scalding hot water and scrub with the scrubbing brush for at least thirty seconds. Followed by rinse again, and place into the dishwasher. Plates went on the right side, ranging from large to small, then bowls on the left in the same order. Knives, forks, and spoons all had their own compartments in the silverware rack as well. Anne was particular about the way things were put away. She had a slight case of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
As she was methodically washing and rinsing, Lee rambled on about what they would need at Home Depot.

“We need to look at cabinets for the kitchen and for the bathroom. I still want to put tile on the floor in the bathroom and then up the wall around the tub. Maybe brown tiles with streaks in them for the color. And then—”

Anne interrupted him, “No, Lee, we talked about this. No more brown. You know I hate brown, it just looks like mud.”

“Honey, it does not look like mud, and I like browns and earth tones.”

“Yes, but I don’t. Plus, since I’m the one who will be cleaning it, I get the final say.”

“They don’t call it the throne, because it’s a girly room,” Lee exclaimed. “Besides, we talked about this. It is the one room in the house that is mine. You can pick whatever colors you want, I don’t even care if our bedroom is purple, but the bathroom is mine!” he said, in an exasperated tone, as they had been having this fight for days.

“Sweetie, I love you, but Joey and I will be using the bathroom as well, so it should be something we can all live with.”

“Oh, like Joey really cares what the bathroom looks like.”

“Well, maybe not, but I do. Come on! Can’t we compromise? How about a dark gray with streaks or a marble pattern?”

Lee looked thoughtful for a minute, “All right, maybe gray, we’ll see what they have.”
Crash! they both looked at each other.

“Joey!” Anne yelled, running into the other room. “What are you doing?”

“Mommy, I’m just booming my castle,” he said in a patronizing tone of voice, as if she should have known.

“Buddy you can’t just crash everything,” Lee told him, “You scared Mommy and me.” Then he looked over at his wife. She looked dazed, “What’s wrong, Anne?”

She looked around the room at the toy cars strewn across the carpet, and the train tracks half pulled out of their box. She glanced over at the huge pile of blocks surrounding her son. Then looking at her husband she said sarcastically, “Gee, honey, I don’t know maybe it’s the huge mess in the living room!” She ran into the other room with tears streaming down her face.

“Daddy, why Mommy crying?” Joey asked, in a little voice.

“I’m not sure, but you start picking up your cars and I’ll go find out. I’m sure she’s fine.”

Meanwhile, in the bedroom, Anne sat on the bed with a bunch of tissues, whispering to herself,
“Stupid, stupid, uuuggghh, I’ve got to stop these crying jags or he’s going to find out.” She wiped at her eyes and took a deep breath just as Lee walked into the room.

“Hun, what’s the matter? It’s just a bunch of toys. Joey is out there right now picking them up,” Lee said.

“It’s nothing. I’m fine,” Anne replied. “I just hate when things get messy, and I’m tired. I’ve just been working too much lately.” Suddenly inspired, she said, “Can you and Joey go to Home Depot and the playground? I really need to go grocery shopping, and we can go look at cabinets and tiles tomorrow. You can just pick up the dry wall and two-by-fours you needed today.”
“I guess we could do that, but are you sure you’re all right?” he asked her.

“I’m fine. I just want to get some food in the house for dinner and be alone for a little while.”
“Ok, we’ll go to the playground or something first, then to Home Depot. I guess we’ll be back around 4:30 or five o’clock,” he told her looking a little worried still, but he knew she would be fine.

Walking back out to the living room, Anne said, “Joey, do you want to go to the playground and then go to Daddy’s store?”

“We going to the playground now!” Joey exclaimed, dropping his toys and running for the door.
“Hang on, buddy, you need your hat and your coat on first,” Anne said, as she grabbed him up into a hug and placed his hat on his head. “I love you monkey.”

“I love you, too, Mommy.”

“What about me, no love for me?” Lee asked, jokingly.

“I love you, too, Daddy,” Anne said, rolling her eyes and giving him a kiss goodbye.

The boys walked out the door and Anne fell back on the couch, “Phew, peace,” she told herself quietly. “Now I just have to get this place cleaned up, go grocery shopping, and get ready for the surprise.”

* * * * *

Six hours later Anne was almost ready for the boys to come home. Dinner was cooking in the oven, and Anne was walking around making sure everything was perfect. She went through a mental checklist as she walked. In the living room, “Ok, I vacuumed. Toys are in their boxes. Books are on the bookshelf.” Walking into the dining room, she looked at the table. “Plates, silverware, cups, and napkins are set out,” she said to herself. The table had a light blue tablecloth with tiny yellow flowers stitched around the edges. The silverware gleamed on the white napkins she had folded into perfect triangles. Joey’s highchair had been scrubbed free of all crumbs, and was in its place at the right corner of the table.

Moving into the bedroom, Anne quietly spoke to herself, “Alright, the bed is made, laundry is put away, and I just vacuumed. So all that’s left is to lay out Joey’s shirt and get dressed.”
Carefully she pulled a light blue t-shirt out of the back of the closet. “He probably won’t even notice,” she mumbled, looking at the letters she had embroidered on her sewing machine the day before. She put the shirt on the bed, then got changed. She put on a summer dress. It was yellow with a long flowing skirt and thin straps going over her shoulders. She had bought the dress on her honeymoon and always felt special when she wore it. She didn’t bother with shoes, as she never wore any when they were in the house.

Walking out to the kitchen to check on dinner, she suddenly heard footsteps and a little voice coming to the door.

“Daddy, Daddy, I beat you! I won! I got to the door first!” Joey exclaimed.

“You beat me again,” Lee said in a playfully sad tone. Then grabbing the boy up in his arms, “I’m going to get you next time. In fact I bet you I can run and give Mommy a hug faster then you can.” He put Joey down and reached for his keys. “Is that a deal?” he asked Joey.

“That’s a deal,” the boy responded.

Lee opened the door and they both ran through it, straight at Anne. Lee was pretending to run fast, while Joey ran across the living room into his mother’s waiting arms.

“I got you Mommy.”

“No silly, I’ve got you,” she said twirling him around.

“I’ve got you both,” said Lee hugging them both in big bear hug.

“I won again, Daddy!”

“You did? You’re so much faster than me,” Lee said smiling down at him.

Anne took Joey’s jacket off and said, “Joe, your shirt is all dirty we better go put a new one on and wash your hands before dinner.”

Then to her husband, “You go unload whatever you bought at the store and then go wash up as well.”

He rolled his eyes, saying, “I don’t need to be reminded to wash my hands.” Then he walked outside to unload the truck.

Anne and Joey went back to the bedroom, and she put his new shirt on him. Then they went into the bathroom, and he said, “No, no, Mommy. I can do it myself.” He pulled his little stool over to the sink, stepped up on to it, and turned on the faucet. Then he pushed down on the soap bottle, and his little hands filled with foamy soap.

“You’re right, Joey. I guess you’re a big boy now, huh?”

“Yup, I’m a big boy,” Joey responded, turning off the faucet and jumping down from the stool.
They went out into the living room, and Anne said, “Ok, you play with your toys while Mommy finishes dinner, but don’t make a big mess. Just play with one thing, like your cars.”

“Ok, Mommy,” Joey said, wandering over to his box of cars that he called his car garage.

Anne went in the kitchen and started putting their dinner on to serving dishes. She put the corn into one bowl, followed by the sweet potatoes into another. Then she placed the ribs onto a large oval shaped platter. She went into the fridge and grabbed the bottle of barbeque sauce, and dumped it into a little bowl. She microwaved it for thirty seconds and then put a pastry brush in the bowl.

“Time for dinner, guys,” Anne shouted, carrying the dishes out to the table. “It’s all your favorites.”

“Mmmm, smells good, “Lee said.

“Yummy ribs,” Joey exclaimed, climbing up into his chair.

“Yup, we’re having baby back ribs, baby sweet corn, and mashed sweet potatoes,” Anne told them. “Plus I have baby crescent rolls in the oven.”

“You sure went all out for dinner, Anne,” Lee said. “Are we celebrating something special and I forgot?”

Anne rolled her eyes, “It’s just a special night, Lee.”

Ugh he can be so dense sometimes, she thought to herself, as she walked into the kitchen to see if the rolls were done.

Bringing the rolls back out to the table in a lined basket, Anne sat down saying, “Time to say grace.”

“God is good. God is great. God we thank thee for this food. By his hands we are fed, thank you, Lord for our daily bread. Amen.”

“Ok. Let’s eat,” Lee said, rubbing his hands together.

* * * * *

“Ok, who wants to help Mommy clear the dishes?” Anne asked, picking up her plate and two serving bowls on her way to the kitchen.

“I help you, Mommy,” Joey said climbing down from his chair and carefully picking up his plate.

They went into the kitchen and Anne set her dishes on the counter. Joey put down his plate and then ran into the living room to play. Lee waked into the kitchen carrying his plate.

“Hun, that was delicious, but you didn’t have to go through so much trouble. It isn’t like we’re celebrating or anything.”

“You’re right, Lee. Of course, we’re not celebrating anything. Why on earth would we do that!” she said throwing her hands up in exasperation and going back out to the dining room for the remaining dishes.

“What? What did I say?”

“Nothing. You didn’t say anything. Or notice anything. Just like always.”

“I don’t know what I did, honey.”

“Just go play with Joey. Maybe then you’ll figure it out.”

Lee walked into the living room and sat down on the floor with Joey and the cars. “Sometimes I think Mommy is just being silly,” he told Joey.

“Yea. Mommy’s silly.”

Lee looked at Joey, “Hey, buddy, what does your shirt say?”

“I don’t know,” Joey responded. “What does it say?”

Lee pulled Joey up to his feet and read the shirt, just as Anne walked into the room. He looked at the shirt, and then he looked at Anne with wonder in his eyes and asked, “Does this mean what I think it does?”

She nodded, too choked up to speak.

He got up and started to cross the room to her. “You mean we’re going to…? I’m going to have another…?”

“Yes,” she responded quietly.

He hugged her to him and spun her around the room whooping and hollering.

“What? What’s so exciting about my shirt?” Joey asked looking down at it trying to figure out what could be so interesting about some words.

I’m the big brother.

© copyright Nicole Schiavoni 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My First Blog!!

Yea! My First Blog! Oh the excitement!

So I've been reading my cousins blogs for a long long time and now my uncle has one to and I decided I might as well join in the excitement. So why blog...hmmm and what to blog... I've decide to blog about what I am currently reading and what I have written, hence "my literary ramblings" :) Yes I know oh so original.

Why literary ramblings? I LOVE to READ!! It's truly an obsession. One that I recommend everyone to have! I'm in school at Holy Family University as a secondary education English major. Yes, I know what you are thinking, "Teaching High school English, what are you nuts?" And in response, "Yes, I am totally, happily, unequivocally nuts! But hey aren't we all?" So back to my point, ( I tend to get distracted and go off on tangents:)) I LOVE to READ and that is why I choose to teach English in the first place. I also discovered, once I started college, that I love to write! So, I will be posting my stories and such here as well. For those who read, and it will probably only be AJ and Uncle Tom :) Be nice and honest :)

So to begin I will say I am currently reading three books at once, two of which are for school and one I am re-reading for fun. Actually the two for school I have to be done by 8am tomorrow so I should really get on that. But to finish blogging first, here goes:

Book 1: Sister of my Heart By: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (what a mouthful)

This book is about two girls raised as cousins in India and America. So far I have only read the beginning, but it is actually really good. It is told from the two girls points of view. Anju and Sudha. From my very early impressions it is called Sister of my Heart because the girls are raised as if they were sisters and they feel like each other's half, hence sister of my "heart." Also, there is a cute story of how Anju "called" Sudha into life by being placed on Sudha's mother's stomach and crying and Sudha suddenly appearing. And of course the girls were born on the same day within hours of each other. Both of their mothers went into early labor because they received news of their husband’s deaths. All very sad and with an interesting twist on the story. But enough of that for now.

Book 2: The Death of the Heart By: Elizabeth Bowen
Yes, I am reading two books about "the heart" though both in different ways:) Ok this book I don't have as much to say about it yet. I have barely gotten into it. It is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Portia who moves to London with her half brother and his wife. The wife is very un-motherly and kind of superficial. The brother does not know how to act. The girl falls for some young "Cad" (the books words, not mine). So far it's interesting. There was a funny part in the short bit I have read. The older brother's mother was a very strange character. Her husband had been having an affair and told her that he had gotten the other woman pregnant. He just thought she should know. He is actually a rather likeable gentleman, even though I usually hate people that cheat. But the funny part is the wife basically tells him "Oh well dear we must get a divorce and you must marry her then" Then she packs his bags and sends him on his way. She is very odd and seems happy to have him go. Never sad about it or angry, just nonchalant. Very odd! Then when the baby, Portia, is born she tells her son, the brother, in a happy tone and says "oh we must celebrate." (Not exact quotes, just the basic gist). I mean really my husband cheats on me, and their would be some serious kick ass going on in my house but here oh no she's all latti-dah! *rolling eyes* Very strange.

Book 3: Twilight By: Stephenie Meyer (my re-read)
Ok so first I have to say that I LOVE these books. They are great. they are meant as a like young adult high school fantasy type novel, but I think they are awesome. My cooperating teachers, from students teaching, also loved them, and so did the students. I would have to say that if you liked the Harry Potter books and you are female, you will most likely enjoy these books. So far there are only 3 of them :(, but one more comes out this summer! YEA! I read all 3 of them in four days. My co-op had been bugging me to read them and so had my students so the day before thanksgiving I went and I bought the first one. Well I stayed up all night reading it and thanksgiving morning I drove around searching for a store that was open to but the other two :( Sadly I could not find one. However, the following day I bought them and read them in oh two days. Now don't get me wrong they are rather long, but they are an easy read and I personally cannot put down a book once I am really into it. So, why am I re-reading? I was at Barnes and Nobles the other day and I just picked it up to leaf through it since it was on the table. I of course got re-sucked in and kept reading. Now, I have to read the first two books for school so I have a dilemma. My Twilight book is luckily in storage, so I can’t read it, but am forced to read the others. But, in the back of my mind I keep wanting to drive over to storage and get the books and I know that as soon as class is over tomorrow that is exactly what I will do. (See I really do have an obsession with reading) :) So what are these enthralling books about? Well it's about a girl name Bella, and a boy named Edward. The twist, Edward is a vampire...but a good one. He and his family do not kill humans. They also are not burned by sunlight and do not die by a steak through the heart. They do not sleep in coffins and basically break all "rules" thought about vampires. She weaves the story in a complete new fantasy way. It's great, in my opinion. When Edward goes out into the sunlight, instead of burning to ash, his skin glistens as if it were covered in diamonds. He can't sleep ever and he has this cool power of being able to read minds. However, he cannot read Bella's mind. Ok before I go on for way to long I must stop because I really do need to read the other books :)

Until next time! AJ and Uncle Tom I fully expect comments:)